The School Boy Poem Class 8 English | William Blake | Explanation |

The School Boy (Poem)

I love to rise in a summer morn,

When the birds sing on every tree;

The distant huntsman winds his horn,

And the skylark sings with me.

O! what sweet company.

But to go to school in a summer morn,

O! it drives all joy away;

Under a cruel eye outworn,

The little ones spend the day,

In sighing and dismay.

Ah! then at times I drooping sit,

And spend many an anxious hour.

Nor in my book can I take delight,

Nor sit in learning’s bower,

Worn thro’ with the dreary shower.

How can the bird that is born for joy,

Sit in a cage and sing.

How can a child when fears annoy,

But droop his tender wing,

And forget his youthful spring.

O! Father and Mother, if buds are nip’d,

And blossoms blown away,

And if the tender plants are strip’d

Of their joy in the springing day,

By sorrow and cares dismay,

How shall the summer arise in joy,

Or the summer fruits appear?

Explanation of The School Boy

In the first stanza, a boy enjoys waking up in the morning when birds sing. He likes the sound of a huntsman blowing his horn. A small brown bird joins him and sings with him.

The poet says that in the summer morning, the boy does not like going to school. It makes him unhappy. The teacher watches closely and they have to stay in sadness and distress all day long.

In the third stanza, the poet says that sometimes the boy sits for a long time and his head hangs down. He does not like to read, and he gets bored with the teacher’s talks.

The poet compares himself with a bird. The bird can’t sing in the cage. That’s like school for him – he can’t enjoy his childhood there. He says that children are afraid of the teachers – just like birds are afraid of people. The boy feels that he is a prisoner in the school, just like a caged bird who lets its wing down and forgets to share the joy of spring.

In the last stanza, the poet appeals to parents not to bother their kids. Kids in school are sensitive and fragile, just like flowers and birds. If they’re being made to do too much, they will grow unhappily and fall like the flowers do when they get overworked. Without a happy childhood, this world will be full of sadness. The summer won’t come with joy, and plants won’t produce fruit anymore.


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NCERT Solutions of The School Boy

Working with the poem (Page 84)

Question 1: Find three or four words/phrases in stanza 1 that reflect the child’s happiness and joy.

Answer: The words/phrases that show child’s happiness and joy are “love to rise in a summer morn”, “birds sing on every tree”, “distant huntsman winds his horn”, “the skylark sings with me” and “sweet company.”

Question 2: In stanza 2, the mood changes. Which words/phrases reflect the changed mood?

Answer: The words in this sentence make it seem like the speaker’s mood has changed. They are “it drives all joy away”, “a cruel eye outworn” and “in sighing and dismay.”

Question 3: ‘A cruel eye outworn’ (stanza 2) refers to

(i) the classroom which is shabby/noisy.

(ii) the lessons which are difficult/uninteresting.

(iii) the dull/uninspiring life at school with lots of work and no play.

Mark the answer that you consider right.

Answer: (iii) The dull/uninspiring life at school with lots of work and no play.

Question 4: ‘Nor sit in learning’s bower

worn thro’ with the dreary shower’

Which of the following is a close paraphrase of the lines above?

(i) Nor can I sit in a roofless classroom when it is raining.

(ii) Nor can I learn anything at school though teachers go on lecturing and explaining.

(iii) Nor can I sit in the school garden for fear of getting wet in the rain.

Answer: (ii) Nor can I learn anything at school though teachers go on lecturing and explaining.


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